Queen mothers in the Ashanti region are considering reintroducing puberty rites to curb the high rate of teenage pregnancies in the region.
According to statistics from the regional health directorate, over eighteen thousand (18,000) young girls of school going age were impregnated in the region last year.
Reacting to the development, the President of the Regional Queen mothers association and Paramount Queen mother of Asante Mampong traditional council Nana Agyakomah Duffie II, described increase in teenage pregnancy as unfortunate.
She told Ultimate FM’s Isaac Bediako in interview that, re-introduction of puberty rite locally termed ‘Bragoro’ is the appropriate measure to halt the trend.
‘As Asantes, we have our own traditions and customs so far as teenage pregnancy is concerned, but modernity has taken it way giving room for teenage pregnancy to be accepted in our kingdom. This year, our number one priority is to bring back the practice of puberty rite. That is our culture and its defines who we are as Asantes,’ she explained.
She added that the practice in the olden days prevented young girls from premarital sex affairs.
“We as Queen mothers really understand the initiation of puberty rites and those who went through the rites will tell you how useful the practice has been to them. Even though, there was existence of early girl child marriage in the olden days, yet girls still had patience to go through puberty rite before they get pregnant. Knowing very well they could be cast out from their communities if they get pregnant without going through the initiation,’ she said.
Nana Agyakoma Duffie II therefore wants critics of puberty rite especially human rights advocates to stay away from the upcoming initiation of puberty rites describing them as ignorant of history of Asante culture, customs and traditions.
“I know human rights advocates will raise serious concerns about it but I will not blame them because they are ignorant of our culture therefore I expect them to keep mute,” she warned.
Puberty rite is observed when young women who have had their first menstruation are confined and given some lessons in sex education, HIV-AIDs and birth control.
After the initiation of the girls into adulthood, a durbar is held in their honour.
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